I was watching V A Shrikumar Menon’s Malayalam-language thriller Odiyan (2018) last day and I couldn’t help but think about the disclaimers that flashed on the screen. While I have noticed the disclaimer “Violence against women is punishable under law” in plenty of other recent films, it is only now that I thought about it in length.
I understand why there is a need to add that particular disclaimer (added to a scene where Prakash Raj’s character is forcibly holding Sreejaya Nair’s character’s jaw by his hand) – especially in today’s sensitive landscape where violence against women has shot up unnaturally – and how it satisfies and suggests the country’s various art control and regulation boards into believing that their job is done, but what stumps me is the singularity of it all. Why do we restrict the disclaimers to only certain elements? Why only women, cigarette smoking, and animals?
Why do we append these less-than-useless disclaimers in movies when we know that there are other bigger reasons that cause these very things that we are trying to eradicate? Why do we think that these disclaimers will have a considerable impact when no one even takes them seriously other than those who mandate it who, by the way, I’m told, often look at these disclaimers when they don’t have access to porn?
Plus, we all know that not a single smoker has kicked the butt after watching that horrendously produced anti-smoking disclaimer, now starring Indian cricketer Rahul “The Wall” Dravid in the performance of his lifetime.
So, here’s a list of common disclaimers that we all have seen and got irritated by when at the movies and how they should be if we were living in an ideal world.
Movie Disclaimers in an Ideal World
If there is a need to add disclaimers in movies (restricted to Indian movies), I would love to see these versions over the current ones:
- Not all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is not purely coincidental.
- No one was harmed during the making of this film.
- Culpable violence against all genders is punishable under law.
- Smoking, much like living in a polluted city and other 87 acts, is injurious to health.
- Intoxication is injurious to health.
- Not following the rules underlined in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is punishable under law.
I know for a fact that as long as we are sensitive about art, this new edition of movie disclaimer texts will never be accepted. My future son already knows this. But I’m still hopeful.
What are some other disclaimers that takes the fun out of your movie-watching experience? Let me know and we will edit it a bit. TN.